The agricultural landscape in New Brunswick is comprised of just over 3,000 farms with nearly 400,000 hectares of farmland. The major agricultural commodities in New Brunswick include dairy (40% of total value of livestock production), poultry (24%), hogs (12%), beef (10%), and eggs (9%). Dairy, poultry, and egg production is supply managed in the province.
Over the past 50 years, the number of productive farms has been sharply declining in the province (from 26,430 in 1951 to approximately 3,000 in 2005). While there are fewer farms, there is an increasing trend to industrialize, resulting in larger numbers of livestock being raised per farm. A map of “Very Large Livestock Farms in Canada” illustrates this nation-wide trend.
Nadeau Poultry Farm (owned by Maple Leaf Foods) is the only federally inspected abattoir in the province, located in Clair (Northern NB, bordering Maine, USA). Most poultry in the province is slaughtered here. Beef cattle are shipped to Prince Edward Island to Atlantic Beef Inc, and swine are sent to Nova Scotia1 to Maple Leaf Foods owned abattoirs or to Quebec. Turkey is sent to Quebec. None of the licensed plants in the Atlantic provinces have organic certification.
There are approximately 30 provincially inspected abattoirs in the province, processing mainly beef cattle and hogs (only 3 or 4 process poultry). (Note: Provincial abattoirs are licensed facilities but the meat is not inspected and therefore cannot be sold out of province).
There are 100 processing plants in the province, the largest of which is Maple Leaf Foods in Moncton. No live animals (primary processing) are processed at these facilities, rather value-added products (secondary processing) are produced including sliced sandwich meat, wieners, and bacon.
1The Maple Leaf poultry processing plant, in Canard, NS, closed in April, 2007. Other Maple Leaf plants in the Atlantic provinces are due to close in the near future. Maple Leaf’s business plan is to centralize their hog processing to ONE plant, located in Brandon Manitoba. Page 19 of their business plan outlines the closures.
The most popular story in the province is that of the community of Sainte-Marie-de-Kent and their opposition to the Metz hog barn (approximately 10,000 hogs/year). The barn was opened in 1999 and closed down in 2007 due in large part to community protest and organizing. Read their story